As a Guided By Voices/Robert Pollard fan since 1995,
even though I’ve enjoyed basically everything he’s done,
there have been high points and some really high points.
Those when it seems like Bob is so into the project,
that you can feel the excitement in his voice.
“Motivational Jumpsuit” is one of those.
I’ve always considered “Motivational Jumpsuit” to be the start
of a high point in creativity for Bob.
Even though the next album from this line-up was their last,
Bob would still release up to 4 albums a year,
that has been some of his greatest material,
and this continues to this day.
If I remember correctly, I read an interview with Robert Pollard
around the time of the release of “English Little League”;
the album before “Motivational Jumpsuit”.
It sounded like Bob was pretty much done with the reunion
and “English Little League” may be the last album,
so I was surprised at the release of “Motivational Jumpsuit”.
“Motivational Jumpsuit” has the feel of an old GBV album
and not just because the “Tigerbomb” ep artwork is used on the cover;
which features Jimmy Pollard.
But there are songs that are a little more than a minute in length
and songs that are pretty lo-fi.
We are in Alien Lanes territory here!
With the first song “The Littlest League Possible” Bob sings,
“Gonna have alotta fun, Gonna hit a home run”.
which sets off the album perfectly.
I can totally imagine Bob doing one of his leg kicks,
when that grungy rhythm guitar comes in.
“Planet Score” is the right along the lines of “Game of Pricks” and “Motor Away”,
without sounding like a rip off.
“Until Next Time” and “Go Without Packing” would feel comfortable among
“Mag Earwhigs!” acoustic songs which appeared between the Cobra Verde stuff.
I really like Tobin Sprout’s songs here, they are otherworldly and beautiful
like “Some Things Are Big (And Some Things Are Small)”,
“Shine (Tomahawk Breath)” and “Jupiter Spin”.
Tobin’s songs seem to bring a calm amidst the chaos of
some of Bob’s more crazy/noisy stuff.
Bob’s “Zero Elasticity”, “Planet Score” and “Alex and the Omegas”
are great and should always be regulars on every future set list;
“Motivational Jumpsuit” is a great album with a sound that would fit right between
“Alien Lanes” and “Under The Bushes, Under the Stars”.
It would be a great first Guided By Voices album for the newbie
a great place to get reintroduced to the band you might have lost touch with.
Thanks Bob for another great album.